Balvenie 15 Year Single Barrel Sherry Cask

Scotch Whisky Review #120: Balvenie 15 Year Single Barrel Sherry Cask (#5786)


Distillery: Balvenie

Region: Speyside

ABV: 47.8%

Age: 15 year

Cask Number: 5786

Cask Type: Sherry Cask

Bottle Number: 223

Price: $100

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry. Non Chill Filtered and Natural Color.

Nose: (according to the wife) Lots of new oak, it smells like new wooden furniture before it’s had lacquer put on it. There’s a lot of plum in here, both fresh and in a syrup along with some toasted nuts.

Palate: Strong on the red wine tannins. There’s a lot of deep and almost dark fruit notes in the form of dark red berries, currants, blackberries, and a little bit of plum but none of the brighter orchard fruits you might expect. After the fruit, a trace bit of tobacco shows itself along with that new wood furniture note again. With a bit of water, those fruity notes blend into a very fruit cake like one.

Finish: Medium in length. More of that fresh wood furniture along with currants and a little bit of nuttiness.

Conclusion: Single barrel sherry cask Balvenie? That just sounds like a real treat. This one is a little funny though. I expected to get a lot of sweet, bright, and fruity notes along with a helping of sherry but the folks at Balvenie must enjoy subverting expectations. While there were a lot of fruit in this, a lot of it felt very dark and earthy especially with all of the tannins and that little bit of tobacco. Still, it is a very enjoyable dram and a fun one to have with its layers of flavors. Would I buy another bottle? While I’ll enjoy this one, it’s unlikely I’ll get another.

Final Score: 83.

Scotch Whisky review #120, Speyside Whiskey Review #44, Whisky Network Review #160

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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